Pace, Untie, and Simplify

When I was in college, someone said I walked as if I had no destination. Later in life I often walked as if nothing was more important than my destination. I wanted no one in my way, for example, when I was on a mission with a checklist. Today, I have both gears. I prefer a third gear in the middle. Time used efficiently is better than speeding…fewer mistakes and less chance for running off the road. 

Last week, I received a message that two of my poems would be published. Entering the poetry world late in life, I have felt compelled to accelerate my pace. If I’m going to move along down the road, I’d rather be on my road bike than a stationary bike. But I can’t sustain 20mph through hills. Pacing is key to sustaining effort. 

Negative self-talk is a time-waster. I remember some inspirational graffiti in a restroom at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California 45 years ago: DYSLEXICS OF THE WORLD, UNTIE! I want to shout to ADHDers of the world: UNTIE YOURSELF from negative self-talk and denial of potential. 

Since ADHD is a complex disorder, simplifying is an antidote. Committing to a chosen path, for example, is simpler than spinning in self-doubt. Occasional episodes of negative self-talk are normal. Obsessing about them is just another time-waster. Someone in my support group once suggested naming negative thoughts to tame them. You might call them waves: There’s that wave again. You can’t stop waves, but you can watch them rise and subside. My friend Dave uses his own name as a label for the self-talk: There’s that Dave showing up again. 

Most Adults with ADHD have trouble activating. A simple solution is diving. Diving into an activity lets you see how quickly activating overrides procrastinating. The inherent reward is what gets done. Substituting action for thought also silences obstructive self-talk. Washing dishes is far more pleasant than thinking about washing them. I may not know where to begin when writing a poem, but I can dive in and return later to re-write the first line. (“Wash One Dish” is chapter 2 in Living Well with ADHD.) 

Negative mental habits are your own construction. Trying to extinguish them is a waste of time. They won’t hurt you if you’re willing to see them and nod to them, as if you’re standing on a diving board, waving to a familiar friend before diving into the water. The water changes everything. 

I welcome your comments. 

6 Responses to Pace, Untie, and Simplify

  • THANK YOU for sharing Terry! My mind went to: “Dyslexics UNITE” haha

    When do we get to read your published poems?

    Sincerely grateful for your inspiration,


    • I understand. My dyslexic brain kept me lingering in the men’s room at McCabe’s. I didn’t get it right away.

  • Congratulations, Terry! How can we see those two poems – or more of them?

    • Hi Ann. Thanks for your interest. My hope is that my best work will appear in publications next year. I’ve only recently begun submitting and can’t post them. I’m reading at poetry events on occasion.

  • Terry,
    Congrats on your published poetry! Let us know the publisher. You’re amazing and admired!

    • You’re very kind, thanks. I’m just learning and working hard like you. I’ve been fortunate to have a great mentor whose work sets a high bar for me. I’ve become a fan of his poetry. Denton Loving’s most recent collection is titled, Tamp (Mercer University Press, 2023). The publication date for my poems has not been determined yet, but they will probably appear in a 2024 edition Salvation South (, a weekly web magazine with a noble mission.

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